April

2024

 

Keep Praying

Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly. James 5:17

Thank God Elijah was “just like us”!  He sat under a tree, complained to God, and expressed his unbelief—just as we have often done. Yet this was not the case at all when he was truly in touch with God. “Elijah was a man just like us,”, yet “he prayed earnestly.” The literal meaning of this in the Greek is magnificent: instead of saying, “earnestly,” it says, “He prayed in prayer.” In other words, “He kept on praying.” The lesson here is that you must keep praying.

 Climb to the top of Mount Carmel and see that great story of faith and sight. After Elijah had called down fire from heaven to defeat the prophets of Baal, rain was needed for God’s prophecy to be fulfilled.  And the man who could command fire from heaven could bring rain using the same methods. We are told, “Elijah…bent down to the ground and put his face between his knees” (1 Kings 18:42), shutting out all sights and sounds. He put himself in a position beneath his robe, to neither see nor hear what was happening.

Elijah then said to his servant, “Go and look toward the sea” (1 Kings 18:43). Upon returning, the servant replied, “There is nothing there.” How brief his response must have seemed! “Nothing!” Can you imagine what we would do under the same circumstances? We would say, “Just as I expected!” and then would stop praying. But did Elijah give up? No. In fact, six times he told his servant, “Go back.” Each time the servant returned saying, “Nothing!”

 Yet “the seventh time the servant reported, ‘A cloud as small as a man’s hand is rising from the sea’” (1 Kings 18:44). What a fitting description, for a man’s hand had been raised in prayer to God before the rains came. And the rains came so fast and furiously that Elijah warned Ahab to “go down before the rain stops you.”

 This is a story of faith and sight—faith cutting itself off from everything except God, with sight that looks and yet sees nothing. Yes, in spite of utterly hopeless reports received from sight, this is a story of faith that continues “praying in prayer.”

Do you know how to pray in that way—how to prevail in prayer? Let your sight bring you reports as discouraging as possible, but pay no attention to them. Our heavenly Father lives, and even the delays of answers to our prayers are part of His goodness. Arthur Tappan Pierson

 Each of three young boys once gave a definition of faith that illustrates the important aspect of tenacity.  The first boy defined faith as “taking hold of Christ,” the second as “keeping our hold on Him,” and the third as “not letting go of Him.”

Streams in the Desert

March

2024

 

Why are you downcast, O my soul?

  Psalm 43:5

Is there ever any reason to be downcast? Actually, there are two reasons, but only two. If we were still unbelievers, we would have a reason to be downcast; or if we have been converted but continue to live in sin, we are downcast as a consequence.

Except for these two conditions there is never a reason to be downcast, for everything else may be brought to God “by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving” (Phil. 4:6). And through all our times of need, difficulty, and trials, we may exercise faith in the power and love of God.

“Put your hope in God” (Ps. 43:5). Please remember there is never at time when we cannot hope in God, whatever our need or however great our difficulty may be. Even when our situation appears to be impossible, our work is to “hope in God.” Our hope will not be in vain, and in the Lord’s own timing help will come.

Oh, the hundreds, even the thousands, of times I have found this to be true in the past seventy years and four months of my life! When it seemed impossible for help to come, it did come, for God has His own unlimited resources. In ten thousand different ways, and at ten thousand different times, God’s help may come to us.

Our work is to lay our petitions before the Lord, and in childlike simplicity to pour out our hearts before Him, saying, “I do not deserve that You should hear me and answer my requests, but for the sake of my precious Lord Jesus; for His sake, answer my prayer. And give me grace to wait patiently until it pleases You to grant my petition. For I believe You will do it in Your own time and way.”

“For I will yet praise him” (Ps. 43:5). More prayer, more exercising our faith, and more patient waiting leads to blessings—abundant blessings. I have found it to be true many hundreds of times, and therefore I continually say to myself, “Put your hope in God.”

George Mueller 

(Streams in the Desert, Feb 7)

February

2024

 

Left Alone

So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. Genesis 32:24

“Left alone!” What different emotions these words bring to mind for each of us! To some they mean loneliness and grief, but to others they may mean rest and quiet.  To be left alone without God would be too horrible for words, while being left alone with Him is a taste of heaven! And if His followers spent more time alone with Him, we would have spiritual giants again.

Our Master set an example for us. Remember how often He went to be alone with God? And there was a powerful purpose behind His command, “When you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray” (Matt. 6:6).

The greatest miracles of Elijah and Elisha took place when they were alone with God. Jacob was alone with God when he became a prince (see Gen. 32:28). In the same way, we too may become royalty and people who are “wondered at” (Zech. 3:8 KJV). Joshua was alone when the Lord came to him (see Josh. 1:1). Gideon and Jephthah were by themselves when commissioned to save Israel (see Judg. 6:11; 11:29). Moses was by himself at the burning bush (see Ex. 3:1-5). Cornelius was praying by himself when the Angel of God came to him (see Acts 10:1-4). No one was with Peter on the housetop when he was instructed to go to the Gentiles (see Acts 10:9-28). John the Baptist was alone in the wilderness (see Luke 1:80), and John the Beloved was alone on the island of Patmos when he was the closest to God (see Rev. 1:9).

Earnestly desire to get alone with God. If we neglect to do so, we not only rob ourselves of a blessing but rob others as well, since we will have no blessing to pass on to them. It may mean that we do less outward, visible work, but the work we do will have more depth and power. Another wonderful result will be that people will see “no one except Jesus” (Matt. 17:8) in our lives.

The impact of being alone with God in prayer cannot be overemphasized.

                         If chosen men had never been alone,

                        In deepest silence open-doored to God,

                        No greatness would ever have been dreamed or done.

 

 (Streams in the Desert, Feb 27)

 

January

2024

 

The land you are…to take possession of is a land of mountains and valleys that drinks rain from heaven. It is a land the LORD your God cares for; the eyes of the LORD your God are continually on it from the beginning of the year to its end. – Deuteronomy 11:11-12

Today we stand at the threshold of the unknown. Before us lies a new year and we are going forward to take possession of it. Who knows what we will find? What new experiences or changes will come our way? What new needs will arise? In spite of the uncertainty before us, we have a cheerful and comforting message from our heavenly Father: “The LORD your God cares for [it]; the eyes of the LORD…are continually on it from the beginning of the year to its end.” The Lord is to be our Source of supply. In Him are springs, fountains, and streams that will never be cut off or run dry. To those who are anxious comes the gracious promise of our heavenly Father: If He is the Source of our mercies, mercy will never fail us. No heat or drought can dry the “river whose streams make glad the city of God” (Ps. 46:4).

Yet the land we are to possess is a land of valleys and hills. It is not all flat or downhill. If life were always smooth and level, the boring sameness would weigh us down. We need the valleys and the hills. The hills collect the rain for the hundreds of fruitful valleys. And so it is with us! It is the difficulty encountered on the hills that drives us to the throne of grace and brings the showers of blessing. Yes, it is the hills, the cold and seemingly barren hills of life that we question and complain about, that bring down the showers. How many people have perished in the wilderness valley, buried under its golden sand, who would have thrived in the hills? And how many would have been killed by the cold, destroyed or swept desolate of their fruitfulness by the wind, if not for the hills—stern, hard, rugged, and so steep to climb? God’s hills are a gracious protection for His people against their foes!

We cannot see what loss, sorrow, and trials are accomplishing. We need only to trust. The Father comes near to take our hand and lead us on our way today. It will be a good and blessed New Year!

He leads us on by paths we did not know;

Upward He leads us, though our steps be slow,

Though oft we faint and falter on the way,

Though storms and darkness oft obscure the day;

Yet when the clouds are gone,

We know He leads us on.

He leads us on through all the unquiet years;

Past all our dreamland hopes, and doubts and fears,

He guides our steps, through all the tangled maze

Of losses, sorrows, and o’er clouded days;

We know His will is done;

And still He leads us on. Nicholaus Ludwig Zinzendorf

(Streams in the Desert, Jan 1st)

 

November 

2023

 

Refiner’s Fire

Malachi 3:3 says, He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver

This verse puzzled some of the women in a Bible study and they wondered what this statement meant about the character and nature of God. One of the women offered to find out the process of refining silver and get back to the group at their next Bible study.

That week the woman called a silversmith and made an appointment to watch him at work. She did not mention anything about the reason for her interest beyond her curiosity about the process of refining silver. As she watched the silversmith, he held some silver over the fire and let it heat up. He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest as to burn away all the impurities.

The woman thought about God holding us in such a hotspot: then she thought again about the verse that says, “He sits as a refiner and purifier of silver”

She asked the silversmith if it was true that he has to sit in front of the fire the whole time the silver was being refined. The man answered that yes, he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. If the silver was left a moment too long in the flames it would be destroyed. The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the silversmith, “How do you know when the silver is fully refined?” He smiled and answered her, “Oh, that’s easy…when I see my image in it.” (Author Unknown)

***********************

The silversmith knows just how long to keep the silver over the fire. He does not keep it over the fire too long or too short, but he knows when it is just right to purify it.” Christian, when you are over the heat, just remember that God has His eyes on you. He knows when you have had enough, and you been refined and purified. His timing will always be just right. When you are feeling the heat of the fire, remember that God has his eye on you, and He will “sit as a refiner and purifier” keeping watch until He sees His image in you. God is intimately aware of your needs and limits. He. also knows just when you have had enough. At the right time He will remove you from the fire. The results will be at the right time. In due season you shall reap (Gal. 6:9). As Job, trust God, “Though he slay me, yet will trust in him” (Job 13:15). When you are over the flames, trust Him. The results will be for your good and His glory (Rom.8:28). Whose image is on you? (Matt. 22:20). Others can also see the image of the Lord on your life (Acts 4:13).

Can the Lord and others see His image in your life?

(Ted Camp, Silent Word Ministries)

e

November 

2023

 

Refiner’s Fire

Malachi 3:3 says, He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver

This verse puzzled some of the women in a Bible study and they wondered what this statement meant about the character and nature of God. One of the women offered to find out the process of refining silver and get back to the group at their next Bible study.

That week the woman called a silversmith and made an appointment to watch him at work. She did not mention anything about the reason for her interest beyond her curiosity about the process of refining silver. As she watched the silversmith, he held some silver over the fire and let it heat up. He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest as to burn away all the impurities.

The woman thought about God holding us in such a hotspot: then she thought again about the verse that says, “He sits as a refiner and purifier of silver”

She asked the silversmith if it was true that he has to sit in front of the fire the whole time the silver was being refined. The man answered that yes, he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. If the silver was left a moment too long in the flames it would be destroyed. The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the silversmith, “How do you know when the silver is fully refined?” He smiled and answered her, “Oh, that’s easy…when I see my image in it.” (Author Unknown)

***********************

The silversmith knows just how long to keep the silver over the fire. He does not keep it over the fire too long or too short, but he knows when it is just right to purify it.” Christian, when you are over the heat, just remember that God has His eyes on you. He knows when you have had enough, and you been refined and purified. His timing will always be just right. When you are feeling the heat of the fire, remember that God has his eye on you, and He will “sit as a refiner and purifier” keeping watch until He sees His image in you. God is intimately aware of your needs and limits. He. also knows just when you have had enough. At the right time He will remove you from the fire. The results will be at the right time. In due season you shall reap (Gal. 6:9). As Job, trust God, “Though he slay me, yet will trust in him” (Job 13:15). When you are over the flames, trust Him. The results will be for your good and His glory (Rom.8:28). Whose image is on you? (Matt. 22:20). Others can also see the image of the Lord on your life (Acts 4:13).

Can the Lord and others see His image in your life?

(Ted Camp, Silent Word Ministries)

e

October

2023

 

DO I MATTER?

 

I stand in the checkout line of the local supermarket and look around me. I see teenagers with shaved heads and nose rings, picking through the snack foods; a yuppie buying one steak, a few twigs of asparagus, and a baked potato; an elderly woman hunched over from osteoporosis, squeezing bruises into the peaches and strawberries. “Does God know all these people by name?” I ask myself. “Do they really matter to him?”

Sometimes when I watch the scenes of abortion protests and counter protests on the evening news, I try to envision the unborn who are prompting such ferocity. I have seen fetuses on display in museum jars to illustrate the progressive stages of human development. Worldwide, about six million of these tiny fetuses are disposed of each year – murdered, say the protestors. The image of God rests inside each one, say the theologians. What does God think of six million human beings who die never having seen the outside of a uterus? I wonder. Do they matter?

Novelist Reynolds Price said there is one sentence all humankind craves to hear; “The Maker of all things loves and wants me.” That is the sentence Jesus proclaimed, loud as sweet thunder. The Maker of all things is the Maker of all human beings, an odd species that, unfathomably, is deemed worthy of individual attention and love.

God demonstrated that love in person, on the gnarly hills of Palestine and ultimately on a cross.

When Jesus visited earth in the form of a servant, he showed that the hand of God is not too big for the smallest person in the world. It is a hand engraved with our individual names and engraved also with wounds, the cost to God of loving us so much.

Now, when I find myself wallowing in self-pity, overwhelmed by the ache of some cosmic loneliness that is articulated so well in books like Job and Ecclesiastes, I turn to the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ stories and deeds. If I conclude that my existence “under the sun” makes no difference to God, I contradict one of the main reasons God came to earth. (Philip Yancey “The Bible Jesus Read”)

To the question Do I Matter?

Jesus is indeed the answer.

September

2023

 

JUSTICE or GRACE?

At one Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in South Africa, a policeman named van de Broek recounted an incident when he and other officers shot an eighteen year old boy and burned the body. Eight years later van de Broek returned to the same house and seized the boy’s father. The wife was forced to watch as policemen bound her husband on a woodpile, poured gasoline over his body, and ignited it.

The courtroom grew hushed as the elderly woman who had lost first her son and then her husband was given a chance to respond. “What do you want from Mr Van de Broek?” the judge asked. She said she wanted van de Broek to go to the place where they burned her husband’s body and gather up the dust so she could give him a decent burial. His head down, the policeman nodded agreement.

Then she added a further request, “Mr van de Broek took all my family away from me, and I still have a lot of love to give. Twice a month, I would like for him to come to the ghetto and spend a day with me so I can be a mother to him. And I would like Mr Van de Broek to know that he is forgiven by God, and that I forgive him too. I would like to embrace him so he can know my forgiveness is real.”

Spontaneously, some in the courtroom began singing “Amazing Grace” as the elderly woman made her way to the witness stand, but van de Broek did not hear the hymn. He had fainted, overwhelmed.

Justice was not done in South Africa that day, nor in the entire country during months of agonising procedures by the TRC. Something beyond justice took place. “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good,” said Paul. Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu understood that when evil is done, one response alone can overcome the evil. Revenge perpetuates the evil. Justice punishes it. Evil is overcome by good only if the injured party absorbs it, refusing to allow it to go any further. And that is the pattern of otherwordly grace that Jesus showed in his life and death. (taken from “Rumors of Another World by Philip Yancey”)

In a world filled with “ungrace” how will you respond?

August

2023

 

Trust God – Facing Difficulties in Life..!

Once in a far away place lived a man who had faith in God. One night, a man was sleeping soundly.  Suddenly a huge sound woke him up. When he opened his eyes, he saw that his room was filled with light.

Just then God appeared before him, showed him a large rock outside his house and told him to push that rock with all his might.

Next morning when man woke up, he remembered what he saw that night. He got outside and pushed it with all his might but wasn’t able to move it. Despite it man didn’t give up and from that day he made his routine to push that rock daily with all his might.

For many years he toiled from sun up to sun down, his shoulders set squarely against the cold, massive surface of that large rock, pushing with all of his might.

Each night the man returned to his cabin sore and worn out, feeling that his whole day had been spent in vain as that rock never moved a bit even after many years.

Not seeing any progress, man started to get discourage and just then devil showed up in his dream and said, “You have been pushing that rock for long time but it hasn’t moved.. Why to go through all that pain? It’s impossible to move that rock that’s why It’s better to leave it at this and live easy life..”

Saying this devil disappeared.

Man was disheartened but still he decided to pray to God and tell him about his troubled thoughts. He prayed, “I have labored long and hard in your service, putting up all my strength for what you have asked me to do and yet after all this time. I have not even budged that rock by millimeter.. What am I doing wrong?? Why am I failing?”

Just than God appeared and said, “My child, i asked you to serve me and you accepted it. I told you to push that rock but i never said that i expected you to move it..!!Your task was to push and After all these your you think you have failed but is it really so??

Look at yourself, Your arms are strong and muscled, your back sinewy and brown, your hands are callused from constant pressure, your legs have become massive and hard.

Facing opposition you have grown and your abilities now surpass that you used to have. You haven’t moved the rock But your calling was to be Obedient and to push and to Exercise your Faith and Trust in My wisdom. This you have done.” (by Moral stories.com)

This story resonated deeply with me, it has been very much my journey over the past 8 weeks or so. The Lord has been teaching me to trust in Him when the way isn’t clear and keep pushing that rock.

I am to exercise faith that moves mountains but know that it is still God who moves mountains. (Cecile)

July

2023

 

Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious – the best, not the worst; the beautiful, and not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.”

– Philippians 4:9 & 8a Message

You are holding a cup of tea when someone comes along and bumps into you or shakes your arm, making you spill your tea everywhere. Why did you spill the tea? “Because someone bumped into me!!!!”

Wrong answer.

You spilled the tea because there was tea in your cup. Had there been coffee in your cup, you would have spilled coffee.

‘Whatever is inside the cup is what will spill out.’

Therefore, when life comes along and shakes you (which WILL happen), whatever is inside you will come out. It’s easy to fake it, until you get rattled. ‘So we have to ask ourselves…. “what’s in our cup?”’

When life gets tough, what spills over?
Joy, gratefulness, peace and humility? or
Anger, bitterness, harsh words and reactions?
Life provides the cup ! YOU choose how to fill it.

Today let’s work towards filling our cups with gratitude, forgiveness, joy, words of affirmation; and kindness, gentleness and love for others.

It is only as we allow the Holy Spirit to produce the fruit of the Spirit in us, that joy will bubble up and spill over, and show our community of Benalla, a true reflection of the nature of our Saviour, the One we represent.

June

2023

 

The Bible and the Coal Basket

The story is told of an old man who lived on a farm with his young grandson. Each morning, Grandpa was up early sitting at the kitchen table reading from his old worn-out Bible. Pouring over the text, looking at the illustrations, he sought his daily wisdom.

His grandson who wanted to be just like him tried to imitate him in any way he could. One day the grandson asked, “Papa, I try to read the Bible just like you but I don’t understand it, and what I do understand I forget as soon as I close the book. What good does reading the Bible do?”

The Grandfather quietly turned from putting coal in the stove and said, “Take this coal basket down to the river and bring back a basket of water.” The boy did as he was told, even though all the water leaked out before he could get back to the house. The grandfather laughed and said, “You will have to move a little faster next time,” and sent him back to the river with the basket to try again. This time the boy ran faster, but again the basket was empty before he returned home. Out of breath, he told his grandfather that it was “impossible to carry water in a basket,” and he went to get a bucket instead. The old man said, “I don’t want a bucket of water; I want a basket of water. You can do this. You’re just not trying hard enough,” and he went out the door to watch the boy try again. At this point, the boy knew it was impossible, but he wanted to show his grandfather that even if he ran as fast as he could, the water would leak out before he got far at all.

The boy scooped the water and ran hard, but when he reached his grandfather the basket was again empty. Out of breath, he said, “See Papa, it’s useless!” “So you think it is useless?” The old man said, “Look at the basket.” The boy looked at the basket and for the first time he realised that the basket looked different. Instead of a dirty old coal basket, it was clean.

“Son, that’s what happens when you read the Bible. You might not understand or remember everything, but when you read it, it will change you from the inside out.

That is the work of God in our lives. To change us from the inside out and to slowly transform us into the image of His Son.”(from a time to laugh organisation)

This grace of God is a very great, strong, mighty and active thing. It does not lie asleep in the soul. Grace hears, leads, drives, draws, changes, works all in man, and lets itself be distinctly felt and experienced. It is hidden, but its works are evident.

MARTIN LUTHER.

May

2023

I Don’t Believe God Exists

It started simply enough, Bill went to a barbershop to have his hair cut and his beard trimmed. As the barber began to work, they began to have a good conversation, telling stories as usual. They talked about politics and the elections, the state of the economy, their families and kids.

“I don’t believe God exists” Mike the barber said in a matter of fact way.

“Why do you say that?” asked Bill.

“Well, you just have to go out in the street to realise that God doesn’t exist. Tell me Bill, if God exists, would there be so many sick people? Would there be abandoned children? If God existed, there would be neither suffering nor pain. I can’t imagine a loving God who would allow all of these things.”

Bill thought for a moment, but didn’t respond because he didn’t want to start an argument. Mike finished his barbering job and Bill left the shop. Just after he left the barbershop, he saw a man in the street with long, stringy, dirty hair and an untrimmed beard. He looked dirty and unkempt.

Bill turned back and entered the barbershop again and he said to Mike, the barber:

“You know what? Barbers do not exist.”

“How can you say that?’ asked the surprised barber. “I am here, and I am a barber. And I just worked on you!”

“No!” Bill exclaimed.

“‘Barbers don’t exist because if they did, there would be no people with dirty long hair and untrimmed beards, like that man outside.”

“Ah, but barbers DO exist. That’s what happens when people do not come to me.”

“Exactly!’ Bill affirmed. “That’s the point!

God, too, DOES exist! And that’s what happens when people do not come to God too.”

April

2023

What is Easter all About?

 The Challenge

of

Easter

”It is our task, as image-bearing, God-loving, Christ-shaped,

Spirit-filled Christians following Christ and shaping our world,

to announce redemption to the world that has discovered it’s fallen-ness, to announce healing to the world that has discovered it’s brokenness, to proclaim love and trust to the world that knows only exploitation, fear and suspicion.” NT Wright

The above challenge is for each of us.

Have we been sucked in to the world’s preoccupation with soft fluffy bunnies, Easter eggs, a dozen different flavours
of Easter buns and even family gatherings (as good as they are),
or just another holiday?

Or are we rejoicing in the fact that the God of heaven exchanged his throne for a cross?

The most astounding thing of all is that the Tomb is empty, and because of that fact, we have NEW LIFE and we are now the image bearers of Christ our Lord,
what an amazing privilege and responsibility.

March

2023

The son! The son! Who will take the son?

A wealthy man and his son loved to collect rare works of art. They had everything in their collection, from Picasso to Raphael. They would often sit together and admire the great works of art. When the Vietnam conflict broke out, the son went to war. He was very courageous and died in battle while rescuing another soldier. The father was notified and grieved deeply for his only son.

About a month later, just before Christmas, there was a knock at the door. A young man stood at the door with a large package in his hands. He said, “Sir, you don’t know me, but I am the soldier for whom your son gave his life. He saved many lives that day, and he was carrying me to safety when a bullet struck him in the heart and he died instantly.

The young man held out his package “I know this isn’t much. I’m not really a real artist, but I think your son would have wanted you to have this.” The father opened the package. It was a portrait of his son painted by the young man. He stared in awe at the way the solider had captured the personality of his son in the painting. The father was so drawn to the eyes that his own eyes welled up with tears. He thanked the young man and offered to pay him for the picture. “Oh no sir, I could never repay what your son did for me. It’s a gift.”

The father hung the portrait over his mantle. Every time visitors came to visit his home he took them to see the portrait of his son before he showed them any of the other great works that he had collected. The man died a few months later.

There was to be a great auction of his paintings. Many influential people gathered, excited over seeing the great paintings and having the opportunity to purchase one for their collection.

On the platform sat the painting of the son. The auctioneer pounded his gavel, “We’ll start the bidding with this picture of the son. Who will bid for this picture? There was silence. Then a voice in the back of the room shouted, “We want to see the famous paintings. Skip this one.” But the auctioneer persisted. “Will someone bid for this painting? Who will start the bidding? $100, $200? Another voice shouted angrily, “We didn’t come to see this painting; we came to see the Van Goghs, the Rembrandts. Get on with the real bids!” But still the auctioneer continued. “The son! The son! Who will take the son?

Finally a voice came from the very back of the room. It was a long time gardener of the man and his son, “I’ll give $10 for the painting.” Being a poor man, it was all he could afford. “We have $10, who will bid $20?”Give it to him for $10. Let’s see the masters.” “$10 is the bid, won’t someone bid $20?” The crowd became angry. They didn’t want the picture of the son. They wanted the more worthy investments for their collections. The auctioneer pounded the gavel. “Going once, twice, Sold for $10!” A man sitting on the second row shouted, “Now let’s get on with the collection!”

The auctioneer laid down his gavel. “I’m sorry, the auction is over.” “What about the paintings?” “I am sorry. When I was called to conduct this auction, I was told of a stipulation in the will. I was not allowed to reveal this stipulation until this time. Only the painting of the son would be auctioned. Whoever bought that painting would inherit the entire estate, including the paintings.”

“That man who took the son gets everything!”

God gave His son 2,000 years ago to die on a cruel cross. Much like the auctioneer, His message today is

“The Son, the Son who’ll take the Son?” Because you see, whoever takes the Son gets everything. AUTHOR: Steve Patterson (Published January 7, 2017)

January

2023

Being a Lighthouse for Jesus in 2023

“So my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.”                                  1 Cor 15:58 (NLT)

A lighthouse is in many ways an ugly structure. It is built for function. It is essentially a tower to hold a light.  It is often placed in inhospitable locations with no consideration for the comfort of its occupants.  In fact, the stormier, more rugged the coast line or the more dangerous the reef, the more likely it is that the region has a lighthouse.  In the midst of a storm or gale the lighthouse must stand strong.  It sends out its light into the darkness.  It cannot see past the blackness of the raging waves to the ships beyond.  For all it knows, the light could be shining into the void being consumed by the darkness.

But in that darkness seeking safe passage are the ships. Often they will never venture close enough to see the lighthouse, but they rely on the light.  This is especially the case when all else has failed, when the stars, the sun and the moon can no longer guide them, then the light of the lighthouse lets them know where they are.

We are like a lighthouse, but we are not the light.  The light is the Holy Spirit working within us, and Jesus shining through us.  Just as the lighthouse sends the light out into the darkness, but has no knowledge of the effects of that light, so too we also continue to do the work that the Lord has set us.  Like the lighthouse, we may never know the people who have been touched by the light and guided to safe harbour by the large or small works that we have been given to do by the Lord. Sometimes it may feel like we are remote and insignificant like a lighthouse placed on a reef far out to sea being battered by the elements.  But, like the lighthouse, and especially in these dark times,  we must stand strong in the location that God has placed us.  And even if our role is to help and protect just one ship that we may never see, we know that the work of the Lord, the Saviour, is never wasted.  (Congregation member of the Lutheran Church in Emerald Qld)